November is an interesting month. Between Thanksgiving, Giving Tuesday, the end-of-year campaign’s kicking off and the general day-to-day work, your staff, and board are in a constant state of stop-and-go. On one hand, while this time of year is fulfilling, it’s also exhausting, so thanking your nonprofit staff and board to feel appreciated is important.

Here are some ways you can thank them this month:

1. Review That Workweek

The standard five-day workweek is becoming a thing of the past, along with the typical 9 to 5 workday. More and more, both nonprofits and businesses are opting out of the default in favor of four-day work weeks or shorter workdays. If your organization has toyed with the idea of a shorter workweek before, this could be a great time to test it out. Instead of the day ending at 5, on Fridays close the office at 3, or earlier if you’re comfortable.

See how your staff responds and how an earlier day affects productivity. Maybe you’ll decide to not fully transition to a shorter workweek in 2024, but your staff will appreciate the extra time in November and December.

2. Thank You Cards

Nothing too exciting here. Thank you cards are simple, and that’s the point. Sometimes the simplest way is the best way to thank your nonprofit staff and board.

Because we’re entering into the holiday season, your staff is going to be more familiar with thank you cards than they’d like to be. If you operate like many nonprofits, you probably already have your alphabetically organized list of donors and their updated addresses with a stack of blank holiday cards heading toward your office. I’d suggest a few of these cards find their way into your board and staff’s mailboxes.

Personalized thank you cards from managers to staff and board can go a long way. These cards should include not just general shows of gratitude but unique feedback or stories for individual staff members. Examples include recalling the great work they did on a project, how they supported a coworker during a time of need, or that scary costume they wore at last year’s Halloween Party. The point is to make it personal!

3. Office Raffle

Let the good times roll! During November, you can ease some of the stress by offering a weekly office raffle for staff and board. If you’re concerned about budget, remember prizes don’t have to be expensive to mean something. Some great examples of affordable raffle prizes include the following:

A. Extra Day of PTO

B. An Early Friday

C. Lunch with the Executive Director

D. Movie Tickets

4. Empathy Goes A Long Way

If there’s one universal truth across our industry, it’s that the end of the year is a stressful time. We’re trying to get as much done as we can before the new year, including wrapping up projects, voting in new board members, sending out reports, meeting final deadlines, and, of course, executing the year’s final campaign. Moments of tension are expected.


During this high-stress period, keep in mind you’re not the only one feeling the pinch. Extend your staff and board the same grace you’d want yourself.

Trust me. It’ll make a difference in the long run.

Bonus Tip: Never forget that people love free food!

If you’re interested in learning more about staff and executive coaching in 2024, schedule a free 30-minute consultation with me to see what we can do together!